The Health, Labor and Social Affairs Committee held a session headed by Representative Assem Araji, in the presence of Labor Minister Mustafa Bayram and the representatives: Enaya Ezzedine, Pierre Bou Assi, Qassem Hashem, Adnan Traboulsi, Amin Shari, Ali Miqdad, Bilal Abdullah, Fadi Alama, Fadi Saad, and Muhammad Al-Qarawi Shawki Abi Nassif, Financial Director of the National Social Security Fund.
The head of the committee, MP Araji, said after the session: “The meeting was held today in the presence of the Minister of Labor, and we, as a health and work committee, are of great concern to the health issue, and social security is affiliated with the Ministry of Labor. The second concern was the situation of workers, their salaries and end-of-service compensation, after for example 50 million pounds was equal to 30 thousand dollars, but today it is a thousand dollars. And if we continue like this, after a month it may become a thousand dollars.”
He added: “His Excellency the Minister talked about his attempt to start registration requests for Lebanese workers, and there is a website for the ministry that any worker who wants to register can use it, and in one day 800 job seekers were registered, and he will be watching through this website. As you know, there are those who bring in employment from abroad. Anyone who wants to obtain a work permit or employs workers from abroad, must obtain the approval of the Ministry of Labor, which today does not give approvals for pre-orders, and there are those who are in Lebanon. And the minister said that 128 professions have been increased for Lebanese workers, according to the decision he issued recently.
He added: “The other issue that was discussed is the guarantee, whether the sickness and maternity branch or the end-of-service compensation branch. Where will the funding come from? As it is known, any patient admitted to the hospital had earlier paid 10 percent and the guarantee covered 90 percent. Today, due to the high prices and the collapse of the Lebanese pound, the cost of hospitalization has doubled, and the patient pays 90% and the guarantee is 10%, and any medical requirement, whether the patient is guaranteed or not, is the price of the medical requirement. I give an example of open-heart surgery: Today, the insurance difference is more than 100 million, and this is an urgent matter, and I, as a cardiologist, know the amount of time and its necessity for a patient who needs an open-heart surgery. Also, the “cavity” if it is necessary to put a “brancher” for the arteries of the heart will also cost the difference. On the price of the dollar, who is able to pay these sums in emergency cases, and the price of the laser is a thousand dollars? In the end, this is called the Ministry of Labor, and the National Social Security Fund covers a third of the Lebanese people, or 35 percent of the people, with medical care at the expense of insurance. There was a discussion about increasing the tariff for hospitals and that funding should be provided to them because they say that everything imported is in dollars, so that I can continue to take these differences from the patient or raise the tariff for me. This is the equation that hospitals put in place.”
He continued: “After this discussion, the Health Committee asked me to take an appointment from His Excellency President Najib Mikati, in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Labor, and the discussion will take place in this meeting, and as you know, the amount of one billion and 200 million dollars allocated by the International Monetary Fund to Lebanon, which is a right of special drawing rights. Which is called “sdr” and the Minister of Labor spoke with the President that if he gave 200 million dollars to the guarantee, he would contribute to the end of service compensation. In addition to the main concern is hospitalization and medical care outside the hospital, and he is placed in the sickness and maternity fund, which has 5,000 billion in the state’s custody, and the state does not pay it either, provided that a certain part of the 200 million dollars is placed in the sickness and maternity fund and another in the end-of-service compensation fund.
In the sickness and maternity fund, we can cover part of the hospitalization, and then the hospital fees can be raised four times, as the army did, which today pays four times the hospital fees than it used to pay in the past. If the bill is a million, he pays four million, and the military day in the army is the least person who pays the differences, or even some hospitals do not take the differences, and this is what we will do with regard to the guarantee. The insurance patient, instead of paying a million pounds, for example, and of course the differences in the millions, pays half or a third, that is, we reduce his burdens, and this plan can last a year to see how things will turn out in the country. So, these are the things we talked about. And I will request an appointment from His Excellency President Mikati with the Health Committee, in the presence of His Excellency the Minister, to discuss this proposal.”
He added: “There was talk about a way to provide money for the guarantee. The patient today, when he goes to the doctor, receives a prescription from him. After the price of the drug was 10 thousand, it has become today one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand, and the guarantee is given on the price of ten thousand, which means nothing and a transportation allowance is not sufficient. Security. And there was talk about the possibility of holding tenders, and the guarantee buys the medicine and distributes it to patients, according to the representative of the guarantee, Mr. Shawqi Abi Nassif, who attended as a representative of Dr. Muhammad Karaki, that the guarantee saves a lot.
He continued: “We talked about another matter, and I hope it will be implemented so that the minister says that the index committee that was formed agreed to a transfer allowance of 65 thousand pounds. He says that there is a patchwork solution for the institutions to pay two hundred thousand to the worker, or to take the guarantee from each institution and for each worker, and this raises one thousand billion, and this amount, according to the insurance representative, can cover hospitals and pay them four times, and this is among the proposals. The 200 thousand is one thousand billion if we count the number of beneficiaries or registered in the insurance, and in addition to that, there is social assistance, one million 125 thousand and 700 included in the end-of-service compensation and 400 thousand social assistance is not declared, meaning that the two hundred thousand for hospitalization, 400 thousand social assistance and 725,000 end-of-service compensation . The total is one million and 325 thousand, meaning that each institution pays one million and 325 thousand for each worker. The minister says that he negotiated with all institutions, companies, and chambers of industry and commerce, who said that they had no problem, as long as they were given the differences because some institutions paid an increase, and that this was among the increase paid by these parties. And I say that the guarantee is in an unenviable situation